The idea hit the Governor between the eyes like a thrown brick.
She stepped out of the shower and quickly toweled her hair. Then she got on the phone.
Ninety minutes later, her husband found her sitting on the toilet cover. She had the towel wrapped around her and her phone was plugged into the charger. She was on a four-way call with the National Committee and her two, top aides.
The next morning’s roll-out started with a somber assessment of Michigan’s dire situation. The presser was attended by all of the national news networks.
Jarrell didn’t get to hear the full announcement until late that evening when he returned home.
“It will be necessary to institute rolling black-outs, two-hours on, two-hours off with adjustments as the nature of our situation evolves.”
“Teams from the utilities will visit every house and pull the breakers for stoves, water heaters, clothes driers and air conditioning.”
“Teams will move from areas of highest population density to lowest density so we can get the most bang-for-the-buck the quickest.”
“Only after the team has visited every property and made the required changes will that leg of the grid be removed from the rolling-blackout list.”
The teams first deployed to precincts where 98% of the voters had voted for the Governor’s party. They also happened to be posh, urban enclaves.
The effort proceeded smoothly. Some of the residents asked why the crew was accompanied by police. They were all given the same answer. “Tensions are high. Crews have been threatened. Oh, and by the way...do you have any guns in the house?”
If the resident admitted there were guns in the house then the crew apologetically said “We cannot go in there and do our job. How soon can you have them removed?”
The home-owner often did not have a safe place to move them to. That is when the crew chief helpfully suggested that the home-owner hitch a ride with one of the policemen back to the police-station and the station would store them in a locked, evidence locker until “things were sorted out and they can be returned.”
Then, at the very next residence the crew just happened to mention “...and we won’t be able to get you off the black-out list until your neighbor (pointing with a thumb at the offending house) removes all of his guns...”
Houses where residents were on vacation simply had the fuses on the utility pole pulled or the meter locked. The urban utilities could tell right to the hour when the electrical and gas consumption dropped to “sleeper levels”.
Absolutely no problems were encountered as the crews “piloted” their gun confiscation process in the professional blue-hives of Ingham, Kent and Washtenaw counties.
The next day, Elsie’s Pizza was slammed for orders. The mayor ran a tight ship. He kept the out-of-towners pinned down-town and released them in twos-and-threes to their designated bakery.
It seemed entirely likely that each bakery would have to increase their production by 400% based on the population of the City of Eaton Rapids and the population in the out-lying areas.
It would take time for that demand to be felt. There were a surprising number of families with three months of food in their pantries and that didn’t even include there TEOTWAWKI supplies. Being cut off at the grocery store would not immediately impact them.
However, there were still surprising numbers of families with less than three days’ worth of food in their homes. The Governor’s plan to stop sales of food to private citizens kicked them right in the teeth. Those were the people that the Mayor were riding herd on down-town.
The mayor was a poker player. He handed out poker chips to the people authorized to collect their bread allotment. If somebody showed up without a driver’s licence proving they lived in Eaton Rapids city limits, or without Wagner’s poker chip then they were denied service.
After enough poker chips were collected, Jarrell had a kid run the stash back to the Mayor to hand out to the people still tricking in from the hinterboonies.
Things were tense but manageable. Elsie’s Pizza did not shut down until two in the morning. Jarrell slept on the floor.